Is Chardonnay a type of Champagne?


Champagne or Chardonnay: Do you know the difference?

If you’re struggling to choose which one to keep at your party or at your in-house bar, don’t keep your queries bottled up!

With this quick read, you can understand everything about Chardonnay & Champagne and their differences.

Did you know? Champagne is always sparkling wine but sparkling wine isn’t necessarily always Champagne.

Chardonnay

What is the Difference between Chardonnay & Champagne?

Champagne, the sparkling wine, is named after the region where it is grown, fermented and bottled: Champagne, France. A typical Champagne or US sparkling wine is made out of 3 varieties of grapes- Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Chardonnay are the light green/white grapes where as both the Pinot’s are red grapes.

If you find a Champagne called “blanc de blancs”, it is exclusively made out of Chardonnay grapes.

Blanc de blancs

Do not let the bubbles fool you. Although Champagne & Chardonnay wine both possess a refreshing effervescence and a similar “pop” sound when uncorked, Chardonnay can only be called Champagne if it is produced in the Champagne region or legally bottled within 100 miles of this region. Outside this region, wines made out of Chardonnay can be labelled as a still wine and not sparkling.

If you have just started drinking wine and want to know more about different kinds, visit our blog Chardonnay vs Pinot Grigio vs Sauvignon Blanc vs Riesling.

What if Champagne was only made with Chardonnay grapes?

If the Champagne label says “blanc de blanc”, it means “white from white” referring to the only white grapes used in making Champagne, which means a bottle of Blanc de Blanc will be 100% Chardonnay.

So, to answer this question: Is Chardonnay Champagne? No, but Champagne might not be what it is without Chardonnay, which makes up to 38% of the planted vines in Champagne, France.

Want to know whether Chardonnay is Sweet or Dry? Read this article to know whether to serve it Chilled? Perfect Serving Temperature and a lot more!

Why are they priced differently?

Well, to understand the pricing, we first need to understand the method of making these. The price can be determined by 3 factors:

  1. How much labor is involved in making the wine?
  2. How valuable is the land where the grapes grew?
  3. How many bottles did they make in bulk?

Champagne is made using “methode champenoise” which is a set of very strict guidelines developed in France. In this method, the effervescence (bubbles) in the bottle goes through a secondary fermentation which is a very complex process and hence, forces the winemaker to handle every individual bottle many times.

Therefore, Champagne’s are always priced much higher and can cost thousands more than other sparkling wines or still wines like Chardonnay.

A non-vintage Champagne will typically cost around $50, whereas a vintage Champagne from the same winery will cost around $100-$150.

Is there any difference in taste?

The only way you can find the difference in taste is by tasting them all!

brut champagne

Some can taste bready, some citrusy while some can taste fruity. If the bottle is labelled “brut” it means dry, with no perception of sweetness. While if a bottle is labelled “extra dry” it actually means the opposite, this wine or champagne will be less dry and sweeter than brut, with a much softer mouthfeel.

Most Champagnes will taste non-vintage. In other words, the wine makers take juice from different years and blend it together to make it bubbly. It allows them to keep a consistent flavor profile from year to year.

Magic of Blanc De Blancs Champagne

A slope in the Champagne area of France produces magic. 12 miles of chalk-rich soil, home to the Chardonnay vineyards, produces one of the finest Champagne called “Blanc de Blancs” meaning “white of whites”, which is made exclusively from white grapes- in this case Chardonnay.

 “Great blanc de blancs is not just a Chardonnay Champagne, but a Champagne from a great vineyard.”

Features:

  1. It is not exclusive to champagne, can be 100% Chardonnay grapes or mix with Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier
  2. It has very prominent taste of limestone
  3. Best and most refined available in Cote des Blancs, Burgundy, France
  4. Acidic Tension + Delicate Flavour (minerality, lime, floral)
  5. It is an age-worthy wine

Making sense of Labels- simple guide to level of sweetness

  • Ultra-Brut/ Brut Nature/ Extra Brut/ Brut Zero- means no added sugar, no dosage. It refers to the driest wines. Contains 0-6 grams per litre residual sugar
  • Brut- This is the most common label you will find in local stores. It should taste dry with no perception of sweetness. Contains approximately 12 grams/litre residual sugar.
  • Extra Dry/ Extra Sec- Tastes slightly sweet- off dry. Contains 12-17 grams per litre residual sugar.
  • Sec- Dry but noticeably sweet. Contains 17-32 grams/litre residual sugar
  • Demi Sec- Sweet. Contains 32-50 grams/litre sugar
  • Doux- Sweetest. Contains 50+ grams/litre sugar

Recommended Blanc De Blancs Champagne

Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2012
Ayala Blanc de blancs
Laurent- Perrier Brut Nature

Quick Tip

Wondering How to Keep Wine Fresh After Opening? Don't worry, read our blog to know every method and way to make your wine last longer!

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